By Kent R. Kroeger (January 8, 2021)
First, an apology to my wife. The above photo was the one of the few Miami Dolphin-related public copyright photos I could find on short notice. It should not be regarded, however, as an endorsement of fake smiles.
Now, to the issue at hand…
Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa was the fifth overall pick and second quarterback taken in the 2020 National Football League (NFL) draft.
Drafted by the Miami Dolphins, Tagovailoa was drafted behind Heisman winner Joe Burrow (QB — Cincinnati Bengals) and Ohio State’s Chase Young (DE — Washington Sea Dogs) and was one of four quarterbacks selected in the first round. San Diego took the third quarterback, Oregon’s Justin Herbert, as the sixth overall pick and Green Bay— mysteriously — thought Utah State’s Jordan Love, the 26th overall pick and fourth quarterback taken, was that final piece needed for the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers to win another Super Bowl (…and, even more mysteriously, Love’s clipboard-holding skills seem to be what the Cheeseheads needed this season). …
By Kent R. Kroeger (January 4, 2021)
Opinion journalists, such as movie critics, bring biases to every opinion they hold and complete objectivity is an ideal few, if any, attain.
The scientific literature on this trait common to all humans, not just opinion journalists, is vast and well-established. The lenses through which we interact with the world are multilayered and varied, each of us with our own unique configuration.
The science tells us we tend to overestimate our own knowledge while underestimating the knowledge of others (“Lake Wobegon effect”); we tend to believe an idea that has been repeated to us multiple times or is easy to understand, regardless of its actual veracity (“illusory truth effect”); we overestimate the importance recent information over historic information (“recency effect”); we offer our opinions to others that will be viewed more favorably by them and often suppress our unpopular opinions (“social desirability bias”); and perhaps the most dangerous bias of all: confirmation bias — our inclination to search for, process and remember information that confirms our preconceptions to the exclusion of information that might challenge them. …
By Kent R. Kroeger (December 31, 2020)
A friend of mine from graduate school — whose opinions I trusted, particularly when it came to movies and popular culture (for example, he introduced me to South Park)— shocked me one day when he told me he hated The Godfather.
How can someone who loves movies hate The Godfather?! How could someone so well-informed — he is today a recognized expert in the role and social importance of myth-making —be so utterly wrong?
The answer is quite simple: Danny prided himself on being a critic and he had a genuine problem with The Godfather, particularly the acting and dramatic pacing. [A similarly harsh critique of The Godfather was written in 1972 by Stanley Kauffmann of The New Republic.] …
By Kent R. Kroeger (December 27, 2020)
“As in the case of many great films, maybe all of them, we don’t keep going back for the plot.” — Martin Scorsese
“I don’t care about the subject matter; I don’t care about the acting; but I do care about the pieces of film and the photography and the soundtrack and all of the technical ingredients that made the audience scream. I feel it’s tremendously satisfying for us to be able to use the cinematic art to achieve something of a mass emotion.” — Alfred Hitchcock
After over 55-plus years, I can count on two hands and a couple of toes the number of times I’ve cried watching a movie or TV program. …
By Kent R. Kroeger (December 21, 2020)
Few conversation starters can ruin an otherwise pleasant dinner party (or prevent you from being invited to future ones) than asking: Is the news media biased?
If you ask a Democrat, they will tell you the Fox News Channel is the problem (“They started it!” as if explaining to an elementary school teacher who threw the first punch during a playground fight). Ask a Republican and they will say Fox News is just the natural reaction to the long-standing, pervasive liberal bias of the mainstream media.
This past presidential election has poured gasoline on the two arguments. …
By Kent R. Kroeger (December 8, 2020)
One the greatest joys I’ve had as a parent is teaching my children how to play chess.
And the most bittersweet moment in that effort is the day (and match) when they beat you and you didn’t let them.
I had that moment during the Thanksgiving weekend with my teenage son when, in a contest where early on I sacrificed a knight to take his queen (and maintained that advantage for the remainder of the contest), I became too aggressive and left my king vulnerable. As I realized the mistake, it was two moves too late. …
By Kent R. Kroeger (November 30, 2020)
As he announced his resignation from the Chicago Cubs as that organization’s president of baseball operations in November, Theo Epstein, considered by many the High Priest of modern baseball analytics, made this shocking admission about the current state of baseball:
“It is the greatest game in the world but there are some threats to it because of the way the game is evolving. And I take some responsibility for that because the executives like me who have spent a lot of time using analytics and other measures to try to optimize individual and team performance have unwittingly had a negative impact on the aesthetic value of the game and the entertainment value of the game. …
By Kent R. Kroeger (November 25, 2020)
The recent Twitter exchange by Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Nikki Haley, the former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., over whether the U.S. can afford direct payments to U.S. households to help with the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic is a shining example of how our two major political parties can unite in constructive dialogue to solve our nation’s most pressing problems.
I’m just kidding.
The AOC-Haley debate over direct financial aid to Americans suffering due to the pandemic was a poopfest.
AOC and Nikki basically told Joe Biden and his call for national unity to go screw themselves. …
By Kent R. Kroeger (November 6, 2020)
I am a Bernie Sanders-supporting registered Democrat (check the voter databases in Iowa and New Jersey); yet, I never hated Donald Trump, even as everyone around me did. My wife and I stopped talking politics on the morning of November 9, 2016 and my mother-in-law to this day only refers to him as “Number 45” or “Turdface.”
But I see beyond his fake tan and broken syntax and recognize some of the good things Trump did over the past four years: He reset some bad trade agreements. Told our European allies it was time they chipped in their share for mutual defense. Oversaw an unprecedented surge in small business growth. And, most importantly, helped expose the falsehood of the Washington, D.C. trope that large, ceaseless federal budget deficits are inflationary and need to be dealt with through deep cuts in entitlement and discretionary spending. …
By Kent R. Kroeger (November 4, 2020)
Conservative writer George Will said after Barack Obama’s 2008 election victory that the loss was good for the Republican Party: “Republicans are a bad governing party, but an exceptional opposition party.” Which soon will be evident as the Republicans spend the next four years calling into question the validity of this election and the president and Congress it elected.
And why shouldn’t they? Republicans and their wealthiest constituents win whenever their party can so effectively muck up the legislative system nothing substantial or transformative ever gets passed. …